Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How Bunny Yeager invented the pin-up

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Tuesday 27 June 2017

How Bunny Yeager invented the pin-up

An interview with pin-up photographer Bunny Yeager, who has died aged 85

Bettie Page and Yeager on location at Africa USA, a zoo theme park in Florida with no cages where visitors could safely interact with the animals.
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Bettie Page and Yeager on location at Africa USA, a zoo theme park in Florida with no cages where visitors could safely interact with the animals. Photo: Bunny Yeager Productions
This article was first published in September 2012
You’ll know her work, if not her name. Bunny Yeager was the stills photographer for Ursula Andress during the filming of Dr No. The famous white bikini, shell in hand publicity shot came courtesy of Yeager’s camera. She took it while sharing a raft with the rest of the film crew, balanced over a muddy swamp, in an act of gung ho can-do-ism that was typical of her whole career.
When she wasn’t hobnobbing with stars, Yeager made a living shooting cheesecake portraits of comely, curvaceous women in and around her home in Florida. Pre-feminism – in fact twenty years before the first issue of seminal women’s weekly Ms was published, and the Female Eunuch just a twinkle in Germaine Greer’s pencil - Bunny Yeager was already making waves in a distinctly male arena.
In the early Fifties, magazines such as RogueWinkCad and Caper were powering a market for the type of pin-up shots that Yeager perfected. Her images, now collected together in Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom, became some of the most the most influential of the era, establishing a pert, burlesque style that would infiltrate fashion, music and film for years to come.
With her wide cheekbones, inked eyebrows, and long, shapely legs, Yeager had a special beauty of her own. Born Linnea Eleanor Yeager in a tiny steel town near Pittsburgh, she rechristened herself Bunny after a character played by Lana Turner in the 1945 Weekend at the Waldorf.
After high school in Florida she became hot property as a fashion model, but she had a problem: it was expensive to hand out pictures to prospective clients, and photographers charged extortionately for prints. Undefeated, she took herself to college to learn to make copies, discovering quite by chance that she was far more talented at wielding the camera than most of the men she had posed for.
A teacher encouraged her to send her work to a magazine, and after scouring the newsstands she chose a newcomer called Playboy. “Nobody had heard of Hugh Hefner” she tells me. “But I figured because they were new they might pay attention to an amateur, and that’s what happened. Hugh offered me $100 (about $850 today). If I hadn’t have made that early connection when he was just starting out, maybe I wouldn’t have got such a big push, but immediately I became employable.”
The pictures in question showed the relatively unknown Bettie Page. Pictured decorating the Christmas tree in nothing but a red and white fur cap it was the first of a series of collaborations between the two women that would establish both of their careers, though the partnership remained a working one: “we didn’t have time to be friends. She liked me, and she liked to pose for me, but I could only afford to pay her for 90 minutes a time and we spent every minute shooting. She was very good at taking direction.”
In fact Yeager had an arsenal of tricks up her sleeve. Working alone “I wasn’t lazy… I knew how to make the most out of somebody just by touching up their make-up or fixing their hair a little a bit and guiding their pose, moves of the hand, whatever it took to get a good picture.”
Yeager had taught herself these tricks through hours of shooting herself in her own home, in the sorts of coquettish poses that were sure to enthral male readers. “I saw there was a rhythm to this thing, so I wrote a book [How I Photograph Myself] so that any girl could read it and become a good model. Even if she just wanted to take one beautiful picture of herself she could do it in the privacy of her home instead of going to a strange male photographer and being embarrassed taking off her clothes.”
The chief remit of her book is to emphasise that any women can look good with the right attention. “What a boring place the world would be if every woman looked the same as the next…Make the most what you have and enjoy being female; enjoy being YOU.”
These women have curves and even visible cellulite. “I don’t like the skinniness” she says of today’s ideal. “I like to see a model who has meat on her bones. For fashion, maybe you need to show off the clothes, but if you want to show off a beautiful woman, you need her to be shapely, to show that she is a woman.”
Now 83, she shows no signs of slowing. Last year she acted as Grand Marshal for a three day festival of marching bands and vintage cars along Miami’s Ocean Drive. She still photographs too – her last self-portrait was taken only last year – and has just moved into a new studio near her home, where she continues to write books. This is her 32nd.
Of the rarity of her success in a male-dominated arena she is reticent. “I didn’t know anybody else who was doing it, sure, but I wasn’t paying attention to what other people were doing, I just got involved in my work and it took me from one step to another. I was just confident my work was good.”
'Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom’ by Petra Mason (Rizzoli, £37.50, published Sep 25) is available to order from Telegraph Books at £33.50+£1.35p&p. 0844 871 1516;









During a recent conversation I was asked my thoughts on the ‘boom’ in popularity of pin-up style photography which led me to discuss the iconic Bettie Page, who it’s fair to say is generally hailed as the original pin-up queen. Of course we’re now quite used to seeing images of models posing provocatively, pouting at the camera or cheekily looking down the lens. Maybe they’re wearing lingerie, swimwear, or perhaps they’re nude but the sheer volume of such titillation means the impact has somewhat been diluted and it’s just become a norm of daily life.
Now that we’re completely bombarded with images featuring nudity it’s quite hard to believe that it wasn’t actually that long ago that laws on producing nude photography were incredibly strict, resulting in secret camera clubs being created and an under the counter attitude for the images produced. The shock factor of scantily clad or nude models was very real and caused public outrage.
Models at the Miami Fire Department. 1955 © Bunny Yeager
Model Bettie Page, with her uninhibited nature and her stunning looks was an instant hit with photographers. Happy to pose in lingerie or nude, the thousands of photos of Bettie Page provide a remarkable archive of photographic and fashion history. Amongst this huge archive of imagery are thousands of pictures taken by female photographer Bunny Yeager, who is credited with making Page a famous name along with photographer Irving Klaw.
When one thinks of some of the great names of photography it’s an easy list to start but amongst the big names that often


Bunny Yeager on the old Firestone estate, circa 1960 © Bunny Yeager
Bunny Yeager on the old Firestone estate, circa 1960
© Bunny Yeager
get bandied around such as Arbus, Newton and Bailey, one name that doesn’t come up perhaps as much as it should is model turned photographer Bunny Yeager.
Linnea Eleanor Yeager was born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania in 1929. Growing up to become a successful face on her local beauty pageant scene the transition to modelling was an easy one and it’s unsurprising that she went on to become a much photographed model in the 1940s. Seemingly very switched on to the commercial world of photography, Yeager upon realising that handing out images to prospective clients was an expensive game, took herself off to college to learn how to produce her own copies so she could market herself more effectively.
Her photography course taught her much more than the darkroom skills she sought of course and it became clear that the images she was producing with her camera were of a standard where she could incorporate them into her plans for the future. Encouraged by her tutor to submit her work to magazines, Yeager studied the market and found Playboy was just emerging. Successfully submitting images, she was rewarded with published work, $100 and a connection that would help skyrocket her career in the form of Hugh Heffner.
Upon embarking upon a photography career however she didn’t retire from modelling, in fact her ability to be at ease with bringing the glamour in front of the camera was something she continued to work with in the forms of self-portraiture. Posing in bathing suits which she often designed and made herself for her statuesque 5ft 9in frame, her self-portraits were eventually turned into a book, ‘How I Photograph Myself’ (1964).
Yeager is a striking reminder that selfies are not just creations of the digital age, self-portraiture is nothing new, the way we share our images has of course changed, but turning the camera on oneself has been happening since the birth of photography. However as a female photographer these images of herself were forward thinking for their time and as a creative person, she was a force to be reckoned with indeed. A skilled photographer, she is renowned for pushing boundaries
Bunny Yeager in hand-made daisy bikini, Miami, 1955 © Bunny Yeager
Bunny Yeager in hand-made daisy bikini, Miami, 1955
© Bunny Yeager
Bettie Page, Carol Jean and friend on the beach, circa 1955 © Bunny Yeager
and developed a photographic style which has inspired image makers in various media for decades.
Having shot for Playboy numerous times, her magazine credits also include mainstream titles such as Cosmopolitan and if you ever wondered who took that legendary photograph of Ursula Andress in that iconic white bikini complete with shell in hand? Yes that was Yeager which she took whilst working as a stills photographer on ‘Dr No’ (1962). Even if you had never heard of Bunny Yeager until now; it’s more than likely that you have definitely seen her work.


In writing about the career of Bunny Yeager it can’t go unmentioned that she also made numerous appearances on film too, yes amongst all her various creative talents she also turned her hand to acting including small roles in ‘Lady In Cement’ (1968) and ‘Porky’s’ (1981).
Photography wise, a change of direction beckoned in the 1970s, the adult magazine industry was evolving, the portrayal of nudity was becoming less playful and poses more graphic. This wasn’t a style Yeager wanted to work in and is quoted as saying – “The kind of photographs they wanted was something I wasn’t prepared to do.”  Instead she carried on her professional practice which included an array of projects including photography, exhibitions and writing just to name a few of her pursuits.
Bunny Yeager & Bettie Page with Cheetahs, 1954 © Bunny Yeager
Bunny Yeager & Bettie Page with Cheetahs, 1954 © Bunny Yeager
Bettie Page at a private home in Coral Gables, 1954 © Bunny Yeager
Bettie Page at a private home in Coral Gables, 1954
© Bunny Yeager
Her years in front of the camera may have afforded her the ability to achieve what she wanted from other models but it has to be made clear a main factor behind getting her subjects trust must surely have been Yeager’s personality. She seemed to have a charisma which charmed, intrigued and inspired so many. What comes across in any interview you read with Yeager is her appetite for life and amongst her many legacies, this incredible woman’s zest for enjoying the world around her is a lesson it might be wise for us to all embrace.
“They all wanted to model for me because they knew I wouldn’t take advantage of 


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Monday, June 26, 2017

Pop Up Goes the Retail Scene as Store Vacancies Rise

The twin sisters Samantha, left, and Morgan Elias founded the Vintage Twin, a secondhand clothing company whose stores frequently pop up in Manhattan. CreditDolly Faibyshev for The New York Times
As traditional retail stores close and vacancies mount, landlords across the country appear newly receptive to leases as short as a week, eschewing the typical 10-year time frame, even in locations that once shunned limited stays.
The upswing in pop-up stores, as the short-term placements are called, is playing out in all sorts of ways, and in all sorts of places — including dark malls, former grocery stores and shuttered art galleries, according to real estate brokers, landlords and tenants.
For retailers, the stores can offer lower rents and far less commitment. For the landlords, the reason is just as clear: A short-term tenant is better than no tenant at all.
“Landlords have their backs against the wall right now,” said Samantha Elias, the co-founder of the Vintage Twin, a secondhand clothing company whose stores frequently pop up in Manhattan. “I tell them that some money is better than no money, and I promise not to bother you.”
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The rise in pop-up stores is adding another element of change to a retail industry facing upheaval from profound shifts in consumer habits and powerful new competitors, especially online. In the past, short-term tenants focused on holidays like Halloween: Costumes were hot items in October, but sales evaporated once the calendar turned to November.
But today, the products go far beyond monster masks, to skin serums, designer handbags and crystal champagne flutes, as brands see pop-ups as an opportunity for quick public exposure or as a possible steppingstone to something bigger. And while some landlords continue to shun short-term deals — arguing that the rents, which are generally below market rate, do not justify the trouble and cost involved with preparing a space — they are quickly dwindling in number.
“The trend has become more prevalent in the last year or so,” said Karen Bellantoni, a vice chairwoman of RKF, a retail-focused national brokerage firm.
RKF does not specifically track pop-ups, which is also the case with other major firms. But the fleeting boutiques are an increasingly bigger part of agents’ business, including in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and New York. “We’re definitely seeing landlords looking for them,” Ms. Bellantoni added.
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The Daniel Wellington pop-up in SoHo became a more permanent presence when the company signed a six-year lease because of the store’s success. CreditDolly Faibyshev for The New York Times
Ms. Elias said she had also seen a change. In 2012, when she started looking for physical stores to augment her online business, she had to cold-call landlords directly, she said, because “brokers had never heard of pop-ups.”
Landlords are finally coming around, she said, but they may have no choice, as stores continue to go out of business.
Ms. Elias added that “it must be really scary right now” for owners in SoHo, where most of her pop-ups have been.
But the new stores can cause landlords to lose money, said Stephen Summers, the managing director of Highland Park Village, an upscale shopping center near Dallas that is in the midst of a multiyear renovation.
In late 2014, Mr. Summers installed Goop, an online retailer founded by Gwyneth Paltrow, for a four-week run in a former grocery store at his historic red-tile-roof complex, a widely copied model for the 20th-century shopping center.
Because the store, at 20,000 square feet, was considered too large for Goop’s needs, Mr. Summers had to construct a more intimate 1,500-square-foot berth, including dressing rooms. That renovation ultimately caused the deal to be unprofitable, he said, even though Goop drew so many customers that there were lines around the block.
But Mr. Summers said he was glad to have a relationship with the company. Goop, which has popped up in multiple spots, is planning to open permanent locations, and Mr. Summers plans to court the company. “Pop-ups are a responsible way to grow,” he said.
Like Goop, other web-born businesses are seeking a bricks-and-mortar presence as well, aware that most shopping is still done offline, and are turning to pop-ups to get their start.
For instance, Daniel Wellington, a six-year-old watch company with a heavy social media presence, has been selling its timepieces in part through department stores like Bloomingdale’s and small jewelry shops. But in November 2015, it opened its first temporary store in the East Village of Manhattan. A year later, it opened one in nearby SoHo for two months. Because that location was a success, Wellington signed a more permanent six-year lease for the same space, said Ola Melin, a company spokesman.
Wellington also has pop-ups in Boston, Miami and Honolulu, among other cities, Mr. Melin said.
The designer Jamison Albritton at work at Artists and Fleas, a pop-up market in SoHo with tables and racks from different vendors. CreditDolly Faibyshev for The New York Times
In SoHo, where pop-ups are especially popular, the range in rents can be significant. Long-term tenants have been paying in some cases up to $150,000 a month, brokers and tenants say. But pop-ups can get deals for $25,000 a month. They generally pay all their rent upfront and agree to leave with a few days’ notice if a longer-term tenant is signed.
While some buildings may be hard to get into, others seem more inviting, like 543 Broadway. That is where Vintage Twin — which is owned by Ms. Elias and her twin sister, Morgan — has been set up since April, and which bustled with shoppers on a recent weekday afternoon. A tie-dyed Grateful Dead concert T-shirt from the 1990s was $244.
Several pop-ups have set up camp at the address, a Beaux-Arts edifice, since Carlo Pazolini, a shoes and accessories store, closed in 2015 after a four-year stay.
“To keep the neighborhood alive and vibrant, you need to have retailers occupying space, especially in today’s day and age,” said Jared Epstein, a principal of Aurora Capital Associates, the building’s landlord.
Similarly, last year, Aurora installed the Broadway Market Company, a pop-up with various vendors who sell handbags, jewelry and stationery, in a vacant building it owns nearby. Its lease is expected to run about 18 months.
Likewise, an Aurora-owned building in SoHo in May welcomed Artists and Fleas, another market with tables and racks from different vendors, which replaced a 10,000-square-foot Armani Exchange store that closed in March. Artists and Fleas has committed to a one-year lease, Mr. Epstein said.
Swooping in to capitalize on the rash of empty stores in New York and elsewhere are some new brokerage-type businesses, which charge fees to landlords as brokers do and also sometimes market spaces concurrently with other agents.
Examples include Space in the Raw, a two-year-old firm that for about a month last fall joined Taco Bell with Sony PlayStation for a SoHo pop-up, in its first New York retail deal.
There is also Appear Here, a four-year-old British company that opened a New York office in April. Since then, it has found homes for dozens of pop-ups, said Ross Bailey, its chief executive, including Misbhv, an apparel company, on East 34th Street, in a part of Midtown where empty stores are evident.
Mr. Bailey says that contrary to popular belief, young adults want to touch what they buy and also enjoy the physical shopping experience. Besides, “it would be a sad world if everybody was staying at home looking at screens,” he said. This month, Appear Here raised nearly $13 million in venture capital, bringing its total in raised funds to about $21 million.
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Joel Hodgin at the Broadway Market Company, a pop-up with various vendors.CreditDolly Faibyshev for The New York Times
But in a way, pop-ups, despite their growing ubiquity, are like Band-Aids on deep wounds when it comes to the problem of stubborn vacancy rates, brokers say.
“Rents are just too high, and it’s just too cost-prohibitive to be here,” said David Barreto, the founder of Cast Iron Real Estate in SoHo and someone who encourages landlords to do what it takes to fill spaces. “It’s really just sad.”